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State Parks Act

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State Parks Act

Article 2C.
State Parks Act.
§ 113-44.7. Short title.
This Article shall be known as the State Parks Act. (1987, c. 243.)

§ 113-44.8. Declaration of policy and purpose.
(a) The State of North Carolina offers unique archaeologic, geologic, biological, scenic, and recreational resources. These resources are part of the heritage of the people of this State. The heritage of a people should be preserved and managed by the
people for their use and for the use of their visitors and descendants.
(b) The General Assembly finds it appropriate to establish the State Parks System. This system shall consist of parks which include representative examples of the resources sought to be preserved by this Article, together with such surrounding lands
as may be appropriate. Park lands are to be used by the people of this State and their visitors in order to promote understanding of and pride in the natural heritage of this State.
(c) The tax dollars of the people of the State should be expended in an efficient and effective manner for the purpose of assuring that the State Parks System is adequate to
accomplish the goals as defined in this Article.
(d) The purpose of this Article is to establish methods and principles for the planned acquisition, development, and operation of State parks. (1987, c. 243, s. 1; 2003-340, s.1.1.)

§ 113-44.9. Definitions.
As used in this Article, unless the context requires otherwise:
(1) "Department" means the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
(2) "Park" means any tract of land or body of water comprising part of the State Parks System under this Article, including existing State parks, State natural areas,
State recreation areas, State trails, State rivers, and State lakes.
(3) "Plan" means State Parks System Plan.
(4) "Secretary" means the Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources.
(5) "State Parks System" or "system" mean all those lands and waters which comprise the parks system of the State as established under this Article. (1987, c. 243, s. 1; 1989, c. 727, s. 218(50); 1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 1004, s. 19(b); 1997-443, s. 11A.119(a).)

§ 113-44.10. Powers of the Secretary.
The Secretary shall implement the provisions of this Article and shall be responsible for the administration of the State Parks System. (1987, c. 243.)

§ 113-44.11. Preparation of a System Plan.
(a) The Secretary shall prepare and adopt a State Parks System Plan by December 31, 1988. The Plan, at a minimum, shall:
(1) Outline a method whereby the mission and purposes of the State Parks System as defined in G.S. 113-44.8 can be achieved in a reasonable, timely, and cost-effective manner;
(2) Evaluate existing parks against these standards to determine their statewide significance;
(3) Identify duplications and deficiencies in the current State Parks System and make recommendations for correction;
(4) Describe the resources of the existing State Parks System and their current uses, identify conflicts created by those uses, and propose solutions to them; and
(5) Describe anticipated trends in usage of the State Parks System, detail what impacts these trends may have on the State Parks System, and recommend means and methods to accommodate those trends successfully.
(b) The Plan shall be developed with full public participation, including a series of public meetings held on adequate notice under rules which shall be adopted by the Secretary. The purpose of the public meetings and other public participation shall be to obtain from the public:
(1) Views and information on the needs of the public for recreational resources in the State Parks System;
(2) Views and information on the manner in which these needs should be addressed;
(3) Review of the draft plan prepared by the Secretary before he adopts the Plan.
(c) The Secretary shall revise the Plan at intervals not exceeding five years. Revisions to the Plan shall be made consistent with and under the rules providing public participation in adoption of the Plan. (1987, c. 243.)

§ 113-44.12. Classification of parks resources.
After adopting the Plan, the Secretary shall identify and classify the major resources of each of the parks in the State Parks System, in order to establish the major purpose or purposes of each of the parks, consistent with the Plan and the purposes of this Article. (1987, c. 243.)

§ 113-44.13. General management plans.
Every park classified pursuant to G.S. 113-44.12 shall have a general management plan. The plan shall include a statement of purpose for the park based upon its relationship to the System Plan and its classification. An analysis of the major
resources and facilities on hand to achieve those purposes shall be completed along with a statement of management direction. The general management plan shall be revised as necessary to comply with the System Plan and to achieve the purposes of this Article. (1987, c. 243.)

§ 113-44.14. Additions to and deletions from the State Parks System.
(a) If, in the course of implementing G.S. 113-44.12 the Secretary determines that the major purposes of a park are not consistent with the purposes of this Article and the Plan, the Secretary may propose to the General Assembly the deletion of that park from the State Parks System. On a majority vote of each house of the General Assembly, the General Assembly may remove the park from the State Parks System. No other agency or governmental body of the State shall have the power to remove a park or any part from the State Parks System.
(b) New parks shall be added to the State Parks System by the Department after authorization by the General Assembly. Each additional park shall be authorized only by an act of the General Assembly. Additions shall be consistent with and shall address the needs of the State Parks System as described in the Plan. All additions shall be accompanied by adequate authorization and appropriations for land acquisition, development, and operations. (1987, c. 243, s. 1.)

§ 113-44.15. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund.
(a) Fund Created. – There is established a Parks and Recreation Trust Fund in the State Treasurer's Office. The Trust Fund shall be a nonreverting special revenue fund consisting of gifts and grants to the Trust Fund, monies credited to the Trust Fund pursuant to G.S. 105-228.30(b), and other monies appropriated to the Trust Fund by the General Assembly.
(b) Use. – Funds in the Trust Fund are annually appropriated to the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Authority and, unless otherwise specified by the General Assembly or the terms or conditions of a gift or grant, shall be allocated and used as follows:
(1) Sixty-five percent (65%) for the State Parks System for capital projects, repairs and renovations of park facilities, and land acquisition, and to retire debt incurred for these purposes under Article 9 of Chapter 142 of the General Statutes.
(2) Thirty percent (30%) to provide matching funds to local governmental units or public authorities as defined in G.S. 159-7 on a dollar-for-dollar basis for local park and recreation purposes. The appraised value of land that is donated to a local government unit or public authority may be applied to the matching requirement of this subdivision. These funds shall be allocated by the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Authority based on criteria patterned after the Open Project Selection Process established for the Land and Water Conservation Fund administered by the National Park Service of the United States Department of the Interior.
(3) Five percent (5%) for the Coastal and Estuarine Water Beach Access Program.
(b1) Geographic Distribution. – In allocating funds in the Trust Fund under this section, the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Authority shall make geographic distribution across the State to the extent practicable.
(b2) Administrative Expenses. – Of the funds appropriated to the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Authority from the Trust Fund each year, no more than three percent (3%) may be used by the Department for operating expenses associated with managing capital improvements projects, acquiring land, and administration of local grants programs.
(c) Reports. – The North Carolina Parks and Recreation Authority shall report no later than October 1 of each year to the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations, the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Natural and Economic Resources, the Fiscal Research Division, and the Environmental Review Commission on allocations from the Trust Fund from the prior fiscal year. The Authority also shall provide a progress report no later than March 15 of each year to the same recipients on the activities of and the expenditures from the Trust Fund for the current fiscal year.
(d) Debt. – The Authority may allocate up to fifty percent (50%) of the portion of the annual appropriation identified in subdivision (b)(1) of this section to reimburse the General Fund for debt service on special indebtedness to be issued or incurred under Article 9 of Chapter 142 of the General Statutes for the purposes provided in subdivision
(b)(1) of this section. In order to allocate funds for debt service reimbursement, the Authority must identify to the State Treasurer the specific parks projects for which it would like special indebtedness to be issued or incurred and the annual amount it intends to make available, and request the State Treasurer to issue or incur the indebtedness. After special indebtedness has been issued or incurred for a parks project requested by the Authority, the Authority must credit to the General Fund each year the actual aggregate principal and interest payments to be made in that year on the special indebtedness, as identified by the State Treasurer. (1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 772, s. 1; 1995, c. 456, s. 2; 1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 646, s. 20; 1998-212, ss. 14.6(a), 14.7; 2001-114, s. 1; 2001-487, s. 73; 2004-179, s. 2.4.)